FORDE, Norway (Reuters) - Armenia won gold for the second successive day at the European weightlifting championships when Nazik Avdalyan secured a sensational victory with her last lift in the 69kg category on Thursday.
Avdalyan, European champion in 2008 and world champion in 2009, thought she would never compete again when she suffered horrific injuries in a car crash six years ago.
Avdalyan broke several bones, and had surgery on her spine after the motorway crash in 2010, five months after she had won world championship gold in South Korea. That made her Armenia’s first female world champion in any sport.
After three years of rehabilitation Avdalyan returned to competition in last year’s world championships in Houston, Texas, where she finished 14th.
“We are so proud of her,” said Varvara Hayrapetyan, an Armenia National Olympic Committee official. “She had so many terrible injuries, she took so long to recover, and she did not do so well in the world championships. This is a huge surprise, and we have had two fantastic days.”
In the men’s 85kg, four of the nine lifters failed to register a total and all three medalists, a Ukrainian and two Romanians, tested positive in 2013 and served two-year doping bans that ended last year. The winner was Ukraine’s Oleksandr Pielieshenko.
Editing by Ed Osmond